“At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning, on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima..”. John Hersey
There is nothing clearer about the Gospel of Jesus Christ than that it calls us to service. We all weigh our service to our families and our own well-being against the call of a world full of need. Work and church and community all vie for a place on our calendar. However, after years of working, you might find yourself moving into a part-time job or retiring. Or, you might be a recent college graduate with a summer to volunteer. Do you ever think that volunteering away from home in an unfamiliar setting could also be a kind of adventure? Do you have time in your life to have an adventure and be of service to others?
Partners in Service is a program of the United Church of Christ that offers opportunities for volunteer placement around the country. The placements can be as short as a summer and as long as twelve months. You could be rehabbing houses in Fresno, California, supporting humane borders in Tucson, Arizona, or working with youth in Atlanta, Georgia. How about volunteering at Heifer International Farm? Working with addicts and health services? Want an international volunteer placement? If you are an adult of any age, and have the time, you can have an adventure in service. Go to ucc.org and search for the application to Partners in Service.
Betzi Yungclas is a member of the First Community United Church of Christ, Dallas, Texas, and a serial volunteer for Partners in Service. She saw a brochure for Partners at a Conference-wide meeting and knew that it was something she could do. She had spent thirty years working for AT&T where she was the first woman in the country to climb telephone poles. Now, volunteering is her work. She has been placed in a variety of disaster relief settings from Katrina to her more recent work helping the recovery effort after Hurricane Matthew. She has also spent a long-term opportunity working with Humane Borders in Arizona.
One of Betzi’s co-volunteers is Jon Wallace, a member of Park Hill Congregational United Church of Christ, Denver, Colorado. Of his experiences Jon says, “Bringing communities together, teaching, and companioning them towards recovery and resilience, brings joy and gratefulness as I see God at work through the hands of the church and others.”
What about you, or someone you know? Is there time on your hands? Do you wonder what it would be like to work for peace with others of a like mind, to help embody justice, to create hope in hopeless situations, advocate for clean and affordable housing, build new homes after a disasters? Betzi says that picking up that brochure long ago changed her life. Do you want a change in your life? Remember Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.” Is there service in your future?